Summary: A sermon on the beautitude of the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8, Adapted from an article by Spiros Zodhiates)
Evening Service for 10/26/2003
Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Two theological students were walking along a street in the Whitechapel district of London, a section where old and used clothing is sold. "What a fitting illustration all this makes!" said one of the students as he pointed to a suit of clothes hanging on a rack by a window. A sign on it read: SLIGHTLY SOILED -- GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE.
"That’s it exactly," he continued. "We get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a course book, or allowing ourselves a little indulgence in dishonest or lustful thoughts; and so when the time comes for our character to be appraised, we are greatly reduced in value. Our purity, our strength is gone. We are just part and parcel of the general, shopworn stock of the world." Yes, continual slight deviations from the path of right may greatly reduce our usefulness to God and to our fellowman. In fact, these little secret sins can weaken our character so that when we face a moral crisis, we cannot stand the test. As a result, we go down in spiritual defeat because we have been careless about little sins.
A. What does it mean to be pure in heart?
** Two possible meanings that are related.
1. Inner moral purity.
a. Free from mixture or anything that soils, adulterates or corrupts.
a. (2 Tim 2:22 NIV) Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
b. If we apply a magnet to the end of a needle that moves freely on it pivot, the needle affected by a strong attraction approaches as if it loved it. Reverse the order, applying the magnet to the other pole, and the needle shrinks away trembling as if it hated it. One man rushes into impurity; another avoids it with horror. What is in our hearts attracts or repels, is loved or hated.
c. How can we have this kind of inner moral purity?
1) Acts 2:38
2) (2 Cor 1:21 NIV) Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,(2 Cor 1:22 NIV) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
a. As unadulterated water is said to be pure, and gold without alloy is pure gold, so the pure heart is the undivided heart where there is no conflict of loyalties, no cleavage of interests, no mixture of motives, no hypocrisy and no insecurity.
b. (Phil 2:14 NIV) Do everything without complaining or arguing,(Phil 2:15 NIV) so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe(Phil 2:16 NIV) as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
c. Focussed on God, wholehearted devotion to God.
Thesis: What blessings result from being pure in heart?
1. The pure in heart are not niave.
A. Satan will bother the pure in heart.
B. Adam was pure. When he fell, thus losing his purity of heart, he became Satan’s friend. Satan fellowships with the impure, inspiring their actions, but he never ceases to attack the pure.
C. Satan deceived 1/3rd of the angels to follow him. He deceived Eve in the Garden and then Adam.
D. (1 Pet 5:8 NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.(1 Pet 5:9 NIV) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
E. No heart is so pure that sinful thoughts do not arise in it. The purer the heart, the fiercer Satan’s assault. The best fruit in the garden is always the first to be infested with insects. The wasp chooses the ripest and most beautiful fruit. It is always the purest heart that is the target of the first line of attack of sin, Satan, and the world.
F. A heart that is swept and purified never puts away the broom.
G. We are ready to resist the devil, for we are not ignorant of his plans.
H. (1 John 4:4 NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
2. Free from pretending.
A. It is difficult to be a pretender, a playactor. It wears you out; it robs you of joy.